Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says he "admires and respects" Sergio Ramos, despite criticism from the Real Madrid captain.
Ramos took a swipe at Atleti and their head coach during a wide-ranging interview to COPE on Thursday, in which he was asked for his response to Simeone's suggestion ahead of the start of the season that La Liga is "dangerously prepared for Madrid" to triumph.
"I admire Cholo, I like his philosophy and the performances he brings out of his teams, but I don't like people who act the victim," Ramos, whose side are a point behind Barcelona and Atletico, said of the Argentine.
Simeone would not be drawn into a war of words with the Spain defender, however, and claimed he would love the chance to sign him for Atletico.
"What he said is not my opinion. I admire and respect Ramos and if I could choose players from outside the group, he would be one that I would take," he said on Friday.
Atleti face Malaga on Saturday looking to keep up with Barca's pace at the top of the table and Simeone expects Javi Gracia's side to offer a tough challenge at the Vicente Calderon.
"Gracia is a coach who always sets out well in games. I think this will be a close one," he said. "Malaga compete very well, they concede few goals, though it's true that they haven't scored many.
"The stadium will be full, we play a very important game and we have to be ready for that. This season is better than the last in terms of numbers, but there's a lot left to play for.
"Talking about what we have to do to be successful would not be good because we don't know where we will finish."